Kansas City Blues Music lovers may assume they would have no interest in the 29th Annual Folk Alliance International Conference ("FAI") set to descend on Kansas City February 15th-19th. That assumption could deprive said music lover from experiencing a diverse sampling of genres and "lightning in a bottle" performances that INCLUDE Blues artists from all walks of life and points of view. FAI draws over 2,000 artists and industry professionals dedicated to folk and roots (including Blues) music. This year's theme, "Forbidden Folk: Celebrating Activism in Art," is particularly timely given the current political climate.
Conferences, like FAI, provide a unique and unusual opportunity for music lovers AND musicians to learn about the tools of the trade while experiencing some of the most significant musical performances in the world. Please consider a sampling of the stellar Blues artists scheduled to attend, teach and perform at FAI in Kansas City this year...
Serving as Instructors in the Folk Camp:
Ray Bonneville, JUNO Award-winning blues songwriter, guitar and harmonica player, will present a class "Songwriting on a Groove." Ray also will be performing in a public showcase on Thursday, February 16 at 9:15 PM in Benton's, 20th Floor of the Westin Crown Center Hotel.
Rich DelGrosso, seven time Blues Foundation Blues Music Award nominee, and leading proponent of mandolin blues, will be conducting classes in Blues Mandolin, Intro to Swing Mandolin and Jugband Mandolin.
Tony Furtado, a national banjo champion and world class slide guitar player, will be the instructor in offerings that include Beginning Bottleneck Slide Guitar and Blues Banjo. Tony will be performing in a solo public showcase on Wednesday, February 15 in the Pershing South Ballroom at Westin Crown Center Hotel.
Jon Gindick has sold over 2,000,000 books, cds and videos on how to play the harmonica and will be teaching Blues Harp Techniques for Folk Harmonica.
Your author knows from experience these instructors prowl the halls of the Private Showcase rooms in their spare time and can be found sitting in on private showcases and informal jams in the hotel lobbies, stairwells and hallways.
Set to appear in Public and/or Private Showcases or Industry Panels:
Bobby Rush, the "King of the Chitlin Circuit" is one of the most treasured traditional blues singers of all time and at 82 years young still a road warrior playing over 200 dates a year.
Dionne Taylor and the Backsliderz, a Toronto based artist describes her music as "Prairie Blues."
Harpdog Brown & The Travelin Blues Show are purveyors of pure, authentic, early-electric blues. Charlie Musselwhite himself says "This is a smokin' band, singing real, old-school blues just like you want."
Erin Costello is a soul singer who has opened for Mavis Staples, Dr. John and performed with Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble Band.
Jimmy LaFave's voice, steeped in the traditions of his native Oklahoma, strikes familiar chords at the heart of blues, folk and roots rock.
Lloyd Spiegel's mastery of the guitar and storytelling has placed him in the forefront of Australia's acoustic blues.
Marquise Knox, a St. Louis artist mentored by Henry James Townsend, comes from a musical family deeply rooted in the Blues.
Wink Burcham, another stellar product of the current Oklahoma Roots Music scene, easily slips between old school country and Piedmont-style blues.
FAI will have something for nearly ALL music lovers and specifically multiple opportunities for instruction or live performance for the true Blues Music lover. More information about the Folk Camp, the Folk Conference and FolkFest (a one day festival open to the public) is available at folk.org.
Diana Linn Ennis
Volunteer Programmer, 90.1 FM KKFI
Member: Folk Alliance International and
Americana Music Association